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Posts Tagged ‘mental health’

Monday, June 12th, 2017

Sydney School of Public wants to know if dogs make people happier

The effect of dog ownership on adult human health is the focus of a new pilot study by the University of Sydney.

Sydney School of Public wants to know if dogs make people happier

Do dogs make people feel happy?

Led by Associate Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis from the Charles Perkins Centre and Sydney School of Public Health, the research team is seeking 100 non-dog owners to participate in the trial—people who are considering owning a dog as well as those who have no interest in doing so.

“Dog ownership is very popular in Australia with over 40 percent of households owning at least one dog,” Associate Professor Stamatakis said. “While anecdotal evidence suggests dog ownership is beneficial for human health, there is currently scant scientific evidence to back up this perception.

“Our research will provide valuable insight into the health benefits of dog ownership which could support programs promoting and enabling dog ownership as a means to increase physical activity, improve general health and prevent cardiovascular and mental illness.”

Differences in physical activity, cardiovascular and metabolic health, and psychosocial well-being will be assessed for three groups: participants who acquire a dog within one month, after an eight-month waiting period, or do not adopt at all.

Over the course of eight months, participants in the Physical & Affective Wellbeing Study of dog owners (PAWS) pilot will be asked to complete a small number of questionnaires over the phone and visit the Charles Perkins Centre or be visited at home three times for some simple physical measurements.

“These initial results will also inform the methods of a much larger trial, the first controlled trial to examine the health effect of ‘real world’ dog ownership,” Associate Professor Stamatakis explained.

What is public health?

Public health is society’s response to threats to the collective health of its citizens. Public health practitioners work to enhance and protect the health of populations by identifying their health problems and needs, and providing programs and services to address these needs. Studying in this field as an international student gives Canadians an understanding of the public health realm on an international scale, making Australia a top choice for Canadians.

At the Sydney School of Public Health, the Master of Public Health program is open to students from health and non-health backgrounds. Public health is

  • preventing disease;
  • promoting health; and
  • prolonging life.

Program: Master of Public Health
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Semester intakes: March and July
Duration: 1 year
Application deadline: Candidates are encouraged to apply a minimum of three months prior to the program’s start date.

Entry Requirements: A successful applicant for admission to the program requires

  • a minimum four-year full time degree or equivalent qualification from the University of Sydney or an equivalent qualification; or
  • a shorter degree from the University of Sydney or an equivalent qualification, and non-degree professional qualifications and/or substantial relevant experience and/or other relevant qualifications.

Apply to the Sydney Public Health School!


If you have any questions about studying at the Sydney School of Public Health, please contact OzTREKK’s Australian Public Health Schools Admissions Officer Adam Smith at adam@oztrekk.com.

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

Macquarie Psychology professor awarded Australian Laureate Fellowship

Distinguished Professor Ron Rapee, Director of the Centre for Emotional Health and a member of the Psychology Department at Macquarie University has been awarded an Australian Laureate Fellowship.

Australian psychology programs in Australia

Study psychology at Macquarie

The Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme, administered by the Australian Research Council (ARC), gives outstanding research leaders the opportunity to tackle some of the most urgent and complex research issues facing Australia and the world.

With just over $3 million in funding from this ARC Laureate fellowship, Professor Rapee’s project will aim to understand factors that increase risk and provide protection from the development of emotional distress during the adolescent years.

Adolescence is a critical stage in the development of emotional functioning, and behaviours developed at this time can influence the entire life course. Professor Rapee’s research study plans to follow a large group of teenagers over many years and will focus on risk and protective factors that are open to possible modification.

The intended outcomes seek to support the development of prevention and promotion programs and public health initiatives to maximise positive emotional development in young people. It is hoped that these will lead to increased productivity and better quality of life.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Sakkie Pretorius said, “Professor Rapee’s research is an excellent example of Macquarie University researchers conducting world-leading research with world-changing impact. The award of an Australian Laureate Fellowship is acknowledgement of the outstanding research undertaken by Ron and his team and recognition of his strong leadership in this important area of research.”

“One in five Australians suffer from mental disorders and most of these begin during the adolescent years. Understanding more about what makes some adolescents thrive while others experience difficulties will help to improve the mental health of all Australians,” said Professor Rapee.

The Centre for Emotional Health was established in 2006 and has grown to one of the world’s leading research centres studying the development and management of emotional difficulties.

Professor Rapee is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and in 2012 was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his contributions to clinical psychology.


Find out more about studying psychological sciences at Macquarie University. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Psychology Schools Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at 1-866-698-7355 or email Rachel at rachel@oztrekk.com.

Monday, July 28th, 2014

UQ health sciences study to trial intense exercise to aid mental health

Can high-intensity exercise improve the physical and emotional health of people with mental illness? University of Queensland health sciences researchers are seeking volunteers to help find out.

Researchers from the Centre for Research on Exercise, Physical Activity and Health at the UQ School of Human Movement Studies hope to improve the well-being of people with mental illness by comparing high-intensity to moderate-intensity exercise.

University of Queensland health sciences

Can intense physical activity improve mental health?

PhD candidate Justin Chapman said the study provided an opportunity for people with mental health issues to undertake exercise training in a safe environment under expert supervision.

“People with mental illness tend to face psychosocial barriers to the uptake of exercise and a healthy lifestyle, which may contribute to the poor physical health and lower life expectancy experienced by this group,” Mr Chapman said. “We know exercise improves physical and mental health, quality of life and general well-being; however, very little is known about the effectiveness of different types of exercise, or what specific exercise programs suit people with mental illness.”

Mr Chapman said high-intensity interval training had health benefits for people with cardiovascular disease, but this would be the first study of its kind using the training in a mental health context.

“This type of training has gained rapid appreciation among clinicians because it increases fitness in a shorter timeframe than moderate-intensity continuous training, and it is suitable for people of all fitness levels” he said.

“As part of the study, participants will be randomly selected to take part in either high-intensity interval training or a moderate-intensity exercise program.

“They’ll complete a twelve-week exercise training program supervised by an exercise physiologist, with three sessions each week.”

Changes in aerobic fitness, physical activity, body composition, cardiovascular health and psychological well-being will be measured before and after the program.

“We are also interested in whether or not participants enjoy these exercise programs, and which one is most acceptable,” Mr Chapman said.

Participants must be 18 or older, receiving mental health services, and either have a mental illness, or have been experiencing symptoms such as depression, anxiety or stress for several weeks.  Participants need not be fit or physically active, and the exercise will be tailored to individuals’ abilities.

Testing and training will take place at a private gym at UQ’s St Lucia Campus, with parking provided.

UQ School of Human Movement Studies

The UQ School of Human Movement Studies is internationally renowned as one of Australia’s leading education and research centres in human movement sciences.

Researchers and academics draw on the biophysical and sociocultural sciences to extend, apply and transmit knowledge and understanding about human movement. Staff focus on many fields including exercise and sport sciences, health, sport, physical education, sport coaching, sport and exercise psychology, nutrition and dietetics.

The school provides leading-0edge education and research programs, as well as general and specialist services to elite athletes, the elderly, children, those suffering from chronic disease and people with disabilities. The goal is to promote health and well-being, and optimal physical performance, of individuals and populations of all ages.

Courses available include

  • Dietetics Studies
  • Clinical Exercise Physiology
  • Human Movement Science
  • Sports Coaching
  • Sports Medicine
  • Sport and Exercise Psychology


Do you have any questions about these health science programs at the University of Queensland? Contact OzTREKK Australian Health Sciences Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call 1-866-698-7355. Find out how you can study in Australia!

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Possible mental health relapse? There’s a Facebook app for that

Researchers are looking at how social media can be used to prevent relapse in a person living with mental illness.

The world-first pilot study will use a Facebook app to look at changes in a person’s social media interactions to predict when a person living with a mental illness is likely to experience a relapse.

Australian Psychology Schools in Australia

Find out more about studying psychology

Professor Paul Fitzgerald, Deputy Director of the Monash University Alfred Psychiatry Centre (MAPrc), said social media had the potential to be a life-saving way to prevent relapse for patients with bipolar disorder, a substantial clinical problem.

“Bipolar disorder is unfortunately one of the largest risk factors for attempted suicide,” Professor Fitzgerald said. “Studies show that social media offers potential to monitor various psychiatric conditions; however, until now, there has been no application available to plug-in and draw on the information available.”

Individuals download the application and they then link it with their Facebook profile.

“The app looks for changes in social media interactions, such as postings, likes and friend requests. It also prompts self-assessment by asking the profile owner to rate their mood each day,” Professor Fitzgerald said.

“The app will be developed to the point where it can identify changes in Facebook use that predict impending illness relapse and then alert the patient, their mental health physician, carers or family to take immediate action.”

Professor Fitzgerald said the research team would use the pilot study to develop and refine the algorithm that predicts a relapse.

MAPrc and RMIT University have developed the application with grant support from beyondblue.

Monash School of Psychological Sciences

The Monash School of Psychological Sciences is ranked amongst the best in the world. Their vision is to provide leadership in the modern discipline of psychology by integrating cutting-edge interdisciplinary research that is grounded in psychological science and clinical translation; superior teaching that is transformational in its approach of blending traditional with virtual learning experiences; and by translating our research discoveries to have a lasting impact on societal and health outcomes across the lifespan.

Research is a core priority and the school is engaged in a wide range of cutting-edge activities with a strong focus on behavioural and cognitive neuroscience and mental health translational research. A number of interdisciplinary, state-of-the-art technology platforms allow students and staff to explore brain, cognitive, and behavioural processes at multiple levels of analysis. Combining both laboratory based science and clinical research across psychology and psychiatry, findings are translated into evidence based practice, policy and training. Consider the following degrees:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Doctor of Psychology (Clinical Neuropsychology)
  • Doctor of Psychology (Clinical Psychology)
  • Master of Biomedical Science


Find out more about studying psychological sciences at Monash University. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Psychology Schools Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at 1-866-698-7355 or email Rachel at rachel@oztrekk.com.